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Ex Pats and Brummies abroad

Johnbell

master brummie
I ' m fairly new to the forum and find it fascinating. I've noticed that there seem to be a lot of Ex Pat members, so i assume that the fond memories of Brum persist in all of us who live elsewhere.
Where are you?
Why did you settle there? Parents? Work? Fond Holiday memories? Sunshine?
Pal of Ronnie Biggs?
And BIG question, do you miss Brum enough to go back!!?
Would love to hear your stories, must be some amazing tales.
To kick you off, i live in Ubonrat, Thailand. Married a Thai lady and retired here. Countryside, hot, nice people.
I miss the Brum i knew in my childhood, returned a couple of times and found a different city. Reminded me of part of
"A Shropshire Lad"
" The happy highways where i went,
And cannot come again".
 

Eric Gibson

master brummie
I'm just down the road a little ;) in the Forest of Dean, my brother emigrated to Australia in 1970 with is wife and six children, they've repopulated Brisbane, I've lost count of how many in the extended family but more than sixty at the last count.
My daughter is in Pasadena Maryland, she wouldn't remember Brum as she was only seven when we moved down here.

I haven't been up there since my mother died about ten years ago, even then it was changing beyond recognition.
 

Johnbell

master brummie
I'm just down the road a little ;) in the Forest of Dean, my brother emigrated to Australia in 1970 with is wife and six children, they've repopulated Brisbane, I've lost count of how many in the extended family but more than sixty at the last count.
My daughter is in Pasadena Maryland, she wouldn't remember Brum as she was only seven when we moved down here.

I haven't been up there since my mother died about ten years ago, even then it was changing beyond recognition.
Thanks Eric. Many Happy memories of Cinderford and St Briavels/ Tintern area.
 

nickcc101

master brummie
Live in Cornwall now which I'm certain the Cornish believe is another country. Initially moved to Durham then Bramhall in Stockport then Cheshire then Cornwall followed by Torquay then back to Cornwall, that's it never again.
 

Johnbell

master brummie
Live in Cornwall now which I'm certain the Cornish believe is another country. Initially moved to Durham then Bramhall in Stockport then Cheshire then Cornwall followed by Torquay then back to Cornwall, that's it never again.
Small world! I have 2 brothers and 1 sister all moved to Padstow/ Treyarnon area many years ago.
 

nickcc101

master brummie
Small world! I have 2 brothers and 1 sister all moved to Padstow/ Treyarnon area many years ago.
Moved to outskirts of Helston first time then more or less in town centre this time as living in the sticks meant having to use the car everytime we wanted to go anywhere.
 

sospiri

Ex-pat Brummie
John,

A long story and I left Brum in 1961 and lived the bulk of the next 40 years in Dorset. I had originally intended to move to northern Pennsylvania when I retired in 2001, but decided that that relationship was not going to work out for a number of reasons. In 2003 I met my other half, but by then she was a widow & I a widower.

She wanted to leave her adopted town of Swindon - too many sad memories - and I was already planning to move to Crete, where my late daughter had lived for a couple of years in the early 1990s. Neither of us are beach people and we found a derelict ruin of a village house 15 minutes inland that had been empty for at least 25 years. Whilst a rebuild of the existing house took place, we rented a house about 13 miles away on the coast. We then moved in, sleeping in what is now the computer room, whilst an extension containing another five rooms, three of them bedrooms, was added.

The last time we visited the UK was in 2014, taking the opportunities to visit my eldest son and his family who live in Brussels, but also have a holiday home in a village in the Pyrennees. My half-Greek granddaughter is at Antwerp University, my eldest Brussels-based granddaughter is at Leeds Uni, and my half-Greek grandson is at Bournemouth Uni, so you see we are split up all over Europe. And my other half's son has lived in the Middle East for about 14 years and his son is currently at Heriot-Watt Uni in Edinburgh and teaches English in Roumania during the summer.

For health reasons I stopped driving in January, so despite numerous trips across Europe, we are now relatively static in north eastern Crete and still enjoying it, with no intention of moving back to the UK. From time to time we have relatives and a Dutch friend visit, and have numerous friends, British, Dutch, German and Greek here on Crete.

Maurice :cool:
 

Johnbell

master brummie
John,

A long story and I left Brum in 1961 and lived the bulk of the next 40 years in Dorset. I had originally intended to move to northern Pennsylvania when I retired in 2001, but decided that that relationship was not going to work out for a number of reasons. In 2003 I met my other half, but by then she was a widow & I a widower.

She wanted to leave her adopted town of Swindon - too many sad memories - and I was already planning to move to Crete, where my late daughter had lived for a couple of years in the early 1990s. Neither of us are beach people and we found a derelict ruin of a village house 15 minutes inland that had been empty for at least 25 years. Whilst a rebuild of the existing house took place, we rented a house about 13 miles away on the coast. We then moved in, sleeping in what is now the computer room, whilst an extension containing another five rooms, three of them bedrooms, was added.

The last time we visited the UK was in 2014, taking the opportunities to visit my eldest son and his family who live in Brussels, but also have a holiday home in a village in the Pyrennees. My half-Greek granddaughter is at Antwerp University, my eldest Brussels-based granddaughter is at Leeds Uni, and my half-Greek grandson is at Bournemouth Uni, so you see we are split up all over Europe. And my other half's son has lived in the Middle East for about 14 years and his son is currently at Heriot-Watt Uni in Edinburgh and teaches English in Roumania during the summer.

For health reasons I stopped driving in January, so despite numerous trips across Europe, we are now relatively static in north eastern Crete and still enjoying it, with no intention of moving back to the UK. From time to time we have relatives and a Dutch friend visit, and have numerous friends, British, Dutch, German and Greek here on Crete.

Maurice :cool:
Wow! A real global spread there!
I have enjoyed traveling all my life. Especially like the Southern States of USA, but Thailand sort of jumped out at the right time so here we are.
 

Pedrocut

Master Barmmie
A question that interests me is whether ex-pats who move to a non-English speaking country, make
any serious attempt to learn the new language and culture of their adopted country.
 

Johnbell

master brummie
Pedrocut, i lived Germany for a couple of years in the 1960's and became fairly fluent in spoken and written German. I can still get by. However, i have been in Thailand for 2years and have not made much progress! It is vastly more complicated, with a baffling written alphabet, tonal inflexions of minute subtelty. Which completely change meaning, and dialects which my Thai wife does not begin to understand! Needless to say , " one beer please" is universally understood.
Culture is easier, and i make the effort.
 

Pedrocut

Master Barmmie
Pedrocut, i lived Germany for a couple of years in the 1960's and became fairly fluent in spoken and written German. I can still get by. However, i have been in Thailand for 2years and have not made much progress! It is vastly more complicated, with a baffling written alphabet, tonal inflexions of minute subtelty. Which completely change meaning, and dialects which my Thai wife does not begin to understand! Needless to say , " one beer please" is universally understood.
Culture is easier, and i make the effort.
Thanks, it must be much more difficult, language wise, when you have to contend with a new alphabet.
 

Richarddye

master brummie
I left Brum in 1961 at the age of nineteen, my father had just died at 53, was not a good time. My sister lived in the US and I went to join her. I have been very lucky, went back to school at night and got a couple of degrees and was able to climb the corporate ladder as they say. I have travelled globally for my work and been blessed to see most of the world, the good and bad. I was in the UK about 12 years ago and while my memories are great was a little surprised.
When I first got to the US I lived in New Jersey for a long time. I met a great lady, this July will be our 50th wedding anniversary! We are planning a river cruise then to London & Brum closing out in the Cotswold's.
We have two great children and five wonderful grandchildren. Currently we live in SC on the coast half of the time and the other half in Franklin TN, both are wonderful places. The problem with coast are the storms, every time they go there is usually some kind of damage.

keep up the great work on the Forum and thanks SO very much to the folks that provide the guidance...…..
 

sospiri

Ex-pat Brummie
Pedro,

Having served on the committee of the local foreign residents association for 8 years, I feel reasonably qualified to answer that as far as eastern Crete is concerned. Let's start with a few facts that most people don't take into account before critiicising Brits not learning the local language. Most do try when they first arrive.

1. Greek is, according to the British Embassy, the fourth most difficult language in the world to learn. There is even a book written some years ago with the title "How to Learn Greek in 25 Years". Even most of the numbers have three or more different endings depending upon the gender of the noun(s) they apply to, and the context in the sentence and goodness knows what else. Dialects between the various islands and regions of the mainland vary hugely, not just in spoken Greek, but also in written Greek. Some of those from Athens cannot understand those from other regions - those who fare best are those that were born here and moved to Athens for work at an early age, and return annually for the village ex-pats gathering!

2. Those that get reasonably fluent are those that moved over in the 1980s, took a job when work was more plentiful, and married a Greek and had kids.

3. The majority of Brits who move over are retired, so are immediately at a disadvantage because your memory starts to fail. You just can't remember all the vocabulary because you're not using the words several times a day every day. Many older people are also hard of hearing. My other half has been having continuous lessons since 2005 and is still struggling and she's one of the better students.

So now you are going to ask if I speak Greek. The answer is, in a conversational mode - NO. I'm very deaf and very often struggle to hear my other half speaking English sitting only six feet away from me. I just get tired of asking her and other people to repeat words or phrases, sometimes several times. So whilst I can read some basic Greek, I wouldn't guarantee the translation, but can cope with speaking the usual greeting, please & thank you, etc. I stopped using expensive hearing aids about two years ago as they now tend to make things worse.

If you want to learn Greek, don't move to a tourist town - they will always respond in English rather than listen to you struggle with Greek, though they do appreciate that you are making an effort. I live in a large traditional village where less than half a dozen speak English, but I've got too old to struggle! I can cope with French, and a little Spanish and a little Norwegian. The Greeks are now learning Russian, because the Russian tourists speak nothing other than their own language most of the time.

Maurice
 

Eric Gibson

master brummie
A funny story I heard about speaking the language, a young guy trying to impress his Spanish girlfriend's father by saying, in Spanish how important he was, caused a stunned silence, what he'd actually done was tell the man he was impotent.
 

Pedrocut

Master Barmmie
Thanks Maurice. I suppose the criticism of not learning the local language is also levelled at people who come to the UK.

I am bilingual but tried Greek and gave up!
 

Johnbell

master brummie
I left Brum in 1961 at the age of nineteen, my father had just died at 53, was not a good time. My sister lived in the US and I went to join her. I have been very lucky, went back to school at night and got a couple of degrees and was able to climb the corporate ladder as they say. I have travelled globally for my work and been blessed to see most of the world, the good and bad. I was in the UK about 12 years ago and while my memories are great was a little surprised.
When I first got to the US I lived in New Jersey for a long time. I met a great lady, this July will be our 50th wedding anniversary! We are planning a river cruise then to London & Brum closing out in the Cotswold's.
We have two great children and five wonderful grandchildren. Currently we live in SC on the coast half of the time and the other half in Franklin TN, both are wonderful places. The problem with coast are the storms, every time they go there is usually some kind of damage.

keep up the great work on the Forum and thanks SO very much to the folks that provide the guidance...…..
More confirmation of it being a small world!
Stayed in Franklin a couple of times when visiting Nashville, Grand 'Ole Opry etc.
Good friends in Memphis and Holly Springs MS
 

sospiri

Ex-pat Brummie
Pedro,

It really does depend upon at what age you arrive in the country, but also your culture. Many of those arriving from Asia and Africa are Muslim and the ladies beyond school age are often very restricted upon what they can do by the males in the family. But we can't really properly discuss this issue without venturing into politics and I'm certainly not going to do that. All I am going to say is that I expect it to take two generations for this to filter out of the population.

You have to be speaking the language otherwise you very soon lose the vocabulary, as you know. There's another aspect too. Greek is a minority language, spoken by about ten million people in Greece, some still in the USA who entered as immigrants, another million perhaps in Melborne who entered as immigrants and really only one other territory - Cyprus. Less incentive to learn Greek unless you actually live here. There's a far bigger incentive to learn French, because that was the first choice in English schools for years, yet I tried to learn Spanish at school donkey's years ago and there was no provision for it.

It's surprising how quickly the Chinese and the Japane learn English when the want to sell us something! :)

Maurice
 

oldbrit

OldBrit in Exile
In the late 1800s, some of my family left for the USA from Smethwick. My one uncle set up a printing company in Wallingford Connecticut, in the USA, My Grandfather went over to the USA but did not enjoy living there. He returned to work at the Carriage Works in Smethwick for the rest of his life. Every Christmas or so we got a package from the USA lots of American goodies I remember Mom got American pancake mix. I was always interested in America. In 1956 I met Reg Hudman on a band gig at the Isle of Man, we talked about trying to get into the big band business in the USA and decide to move there in 1957 Well I am still in the USA the music business was turned out to be not my liking to many drugs booze women. a way of life that I did not want, In fact, had I continued that, I would in all probability be dead now. Regrets? NONE apart from my mother passed away shortly after I came over to the USA. The image I posted, of a pad for my uncle's printing business, check the date established, I found this on EBAY!! Amazing, some antique dealer there had it. Progress and the Internet, something I never even dreamed off in my youth, has opened up a whole new world to me, Without it, I would not be even posting this today.
 

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Richarddye

master brummie
In the late 1800s, some of my family left for the USA from Smethwick. My one uncle set up a printing company in Wallingford Connecticut, in the USA, My Grandfather went over to the USA but did not enjoy living there. He returned to work at the Carriage Works in Smethwick for the rest of his life. Every Christmas or so we got a package from the USA lots of American goodies I remember Mom got American pancake mix. I was always interested in America. In 1956 I met Reg Hudman on a band gig at the Isle of Man, we talked about trying to get into the big band business in the USA and decide to move there in 1957 Well I am still in the USA the music business was turned out to be not my liking to many drugs booze women. a way of life that I did not want, In fact, had I continued that, I would in all probability be dead now. Regrets? NONE apart from my mother passed away shortly after I came over to the USA. The image I posted, of a pad for my uncle's printing business, check the date established, I found this on EBAY!! Amazing, some antique dealer there had it. Progress and the Internet, something I never even dreamed off in my youth, has opened up a whole new world to me, Without it, I would not be even posting this today.
That is a fantastic find on eBay! As you say, how small the world has become...…..
 

sospiri

Ex-pat Brummie
Great story, John.

I'm on the US-based Keyboard Corner Forum most days, and they all complain that the music business is not what it was even 30 years ago anywhere in the world. Even the Hollywood film studios only employ Hans Zinner & his colleague on synthesisers in place of the huge studio orchestras that they used to employ. Gone are the days of the big musicals. The universities are churning out excellent young musicians, but there is no work for them, and what little there is is poorly paid and doesn't warrant all the hours of practice and study they have put in.

But you enjoyed your life and are still going strong - that's what it is all about, mate. :)

Maurice
 
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